Thursday, September 09, 2021


On the pandemic, President Biden goes big:
The President will direct the Labor Department to require all businesses with 100 or more employees ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested once a week....

Biden plans to sign an executive order requiring all government employees be vaccinated against Covid-19, with no option of being regularly tested to opt out. The President will also sign an order directing the same standard be applied to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government.

He will require that 300,000 educators in federal Head Start programs be vaccinated and will call on governors to require vaccinations for schoolteachers and staff.

And he will require the 17 million health care workers at facilities receiving funds from Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated, expanding the mandate to hospitals, home care facilities and dialysis centers around the country....

The new "emergency temporary standard" from the Labor Department will require large employers to give their workers paid time off to get vaccinated. If businesses don't comply, the government will "take enforcement actions," which could include "substantial fines up to nearly $14,000 per violation, according to officials.
If we could require every employer to provide paid time off for vaccination, and paid sick time for any temporary vaccine side effects, we could probably add several percentage points to the vaccination rate within weeks -- vaccine refusers are nearly impossible to persuade, but many of the vaccine-hesitant are low-paid workers with multiple jobs, unpredictable schedules, and a justified fear of losing their jobs if they're under the weather after being vaccinated. But if a president tried to impose a mandate on all employers, the American right would react as if Mao and Stalin rose from the dead and were occupying the White House with their bare feet on the Resolute desk.

And t more or less the reaction to this plan from congressional Republicans:

The offices of right-wing doctors will stop taking Medicare and Medicaid patients. At least one company with barely over 100 workers will fire a couple just to avoid the mandate (the CEO will be interviewed repeatedly on Fox). Oh, and some federal judges will reject the precedent of the 1904 Jacobson v. Massachusetts case and insist that Biden can't do any of this.

Will the public give Biden credit for the increase in vaccination that results from the nation's partial compliance with all this? Or will it blame him for the likely chaos, demonstrations, and riots, all of it cheered on by the GOP and right-wing media? We'll see.

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